The role of course catalogues in recognition – report from a conference concluding the OCTRA project - NAWA

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Representatives of NAWA’s Department for Academic Recognition and Kozminski University in Warsaw spoke at a conference concluding the international project titled Online course catalogues and databases for transparency and recognition – OCTRA. The conference was held in Riga on 30 August 2022.

NAWA is one of the partners in the project, whose aim was to examine how the scope and manner of presenting study programmes and individual courses on the university’s website can facilitate or hinder the work of professional evaluators responsible for assessing foreign education, and how they affect the recognition of a diploma abroad.

The conference was inaugurated by Baiba Ramiņa, director of the Academic Information Centre (AIC) – the Latvian ENIC/NARIC centre and event organiser – and Rūta Muktupāvela from the Council of Rectors of Latvia.

Hanna Reczulska, director of NAWA Department for Academic Recognition, talked about the main activities performed under the project, such as carrying out a wide survey of HEIs, in-depth interviews with selected academic institutions, international peer-learning meetings, and national workshops for HEIs. Dženan Omanović from the ENIC centre of Bosnia and Hercegovina, in turn, presented recommendations for creating course catalogues, which had been developed based on the conclusions from the project activities.

The recommendations were published as Guidelines on improvement of course catalogues for the use in credential evaluation. The document includes tools for the evaluation of information provided by HEIs, developed in the course of the project. The document as well as the entire project report can be downloaded here.


Another presentation was delivered by Adam Miziołek, who spoke on behalf of Kozminski University in Warsaw – one of the Polish HEIs whose websites had been subject to in-depth assessment in terms of accessibility of information necessary in the context of diploma recognition. He talked about the modifications that had already been introduced based on the analysis results and that concerned marshalling information about study programmes, the principles of offering such programmes, and the HEI as such, as well as about plans for further improvements.

A number of speakers shared their experiences in creating or using course catalogues: Raimonda Markeviciene, head of the International Programmes and Relations Office of Vilnius University, Paul Norris, Vice-President of ENIC Bureau and President of UK ENIC, Gunnar Vaht, head of the Estonian ENIC/NARIC, as well as – on behalf of students – Orazmuhammet Myradov from the European Students’ Union. Other active participants were representatives of the Maltese qualifications recognition centre as well as of the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia.

The remarks of the experts and the results of the panel discussion lead to several significant conclusions. The chief recipients of information about study programmes are always current and potential students, which is why their opinion should be heeded most when creating and assessing information. In addition, there is a need for the participation of other target groups – namely qualification evaluators or employers – who take the available information about study programmes into account when making life-relevant decisions for diploma holders. All these groups have pointed out the need for information transparency. A major challenge in this context, however, is the issue of lecturers’ intellectual property and, especially from the global perspective, the diversity of education systems and approaches, which causes discrepancies in the understanding of the same concepts or models of presenting information. National qualification databases, most often maintained by public institutions, play an important role in providing university-independent information about studies. However, effective use of these often requires a good knowledge of a country’s education system and the concepts it uses.

The OCTRA project has initiated a dialogue with universities on the creation of study catalogues that take into account the needs of various users. The process of disseminating such catalogues will take time, but the effort is worthwhile. In the future, there is also a need for cooperation with educational quality assessment institutions with a view to considering the quality of study programme catalogues as one of the criteria for assessment by quality assurance (accreditation) committees.

All conference presentations (in English).

NAWA page devoted to the OCTRA project

The project is funded by the European Commission, under the Erasmus+ KA3: Support to policy reforms programme.





1 Ryga Octra 2022


3 Ryga Octra 2022